How I Write: Lee Goldberg
Published: July 28, 2006
|Television writer and novelist Lee Goldberg was the subject of the How I Write interview in the September 2006 issue of The Writer. Here are some additional remarks from him.|
Finding the right details
Most of the cop shows on TV now are dark, grim, gory police procedurals. They aren't really about character. Monk is all about the character. Adrian Monk is totally unique. He stands out from the crowd of dour, one-dimensional cops on TV. He's a throwback, in the best sense of the word, to TV characters like Columbo and literary mystery icons like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. And Monk is also very, very funny. Most of the cop shows today are utterly humorless.
What makes Monk work is that his character is fresh, funny and quirky--but built on a strong emotional foundation. (Otherwise, Monk would just be Inspector Clouseau or Maxwell Smart.) I think viewers are drawn to the humor and the heart and, of course, the outrageous mysteries that he solves.
When you write a script, it's a blueprint for something that has to be made in the real world. Reality often imposes changes on your fictional creation. A book is entirely my own and unaffected by production concerns or actors. On my Monk books, I'm working with Andy [Andy Breckman, the creator and executive producer of Monk] but I plot it myself and I write it myself and it's entirely in my head and I live it for months. Whereas a script, you plot it in a week and you write it in two.
There's a tactile thing that comes from writing a book. It's all mine. I mean, with Monk, it's Andy's character and Andy's world. But the book is mine. It's a different experience.
--Posted July 28, 2006